The lens hood costs $179, optical VF $599, and thumb grip $249! These prices are so unreasonable that they must be seen as opportunistically set. This calls into serious question the credibility of the camera as being worth $2800.
After more testing, I'm absolutely flabbergasted. In the corners, at the optimal(?) aperture of f/5.6 the new AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G lens simply blows away the new AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G at both 24mm and 85mm. The '120 produces severe smearing and chromatic aberration in the corners, while the '85 yields a surprisingly better image, not as good as the one from my AF-S Nikkor f/1.4G 24mm prime, but a heck of a lot closer to that image than to the one from the 24-120.
I wonder if my copy is defective. If it's in-spec, I see little reason to choose the '120 over the '85, given the above and what I described in my last post, the size and weight advantage, and the cost saving of more than half. You'd have to need to spend a lot of time between 85 and 120 mm to justify the disadvantages of the '120.
Next: compare the new 24-120 with the old.
I'll be sending this lens to Nikon USA for evaluation. If there's no defect, I'm returning it.
I used the old 24-120 VR for walk-around on my D700, but when the D800 came out, after the new gold-banded 24-120 VR became available, I got both. Now, this combination is of daunting mass and volume, so I decided to consider the new (but non-gold banded), much smaller and lighter 24-85 VR, as I rarely use the extra focal length of the 24-120. I received this lens just yesterday, and after reading the opprobrium heaped on this poor little lens in this forum, I ran some tests of my own.
The results at 85 mm are surprising. At mid-apertures, the central-zone performance is barely distinguishable from that of the new 24-120 at 85 mm. There is very slightly less resolution and contrast--viewed at on-screen magnifications that begin to visualize individual pixels in the image. Even more surprisingly, at the edges near the corners, the ONLY difference I can see is slightly more chromatic aberration in the 24-85.
Next, a test at other FLs and out to the corners. Stay tuned.
Prediction: the announced price of $7195 for the new apo aspheric Summicron 50mm (!) will prove to be erroneous. The price is completely unreasonable--higher than any other M lens except the $10,995 Noctilux, more even than the exotic 21mm f/1.4--and almost twice that of the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux, which would mean no market position at all for it!
And yet B&H just listed it--for, yes, $7195!
It's simple: single-exposure image files, computer displays, and printed images represent ARBITRARY LIMITATIONS re the objective standard for the dynamic range that can be represented, i.e., what can be encompassed in real time by the human visual-perception system.
To enshrine the limits of what can be represented by a print of a raw single-image file on a sheet of paper is to enslave print photojournalism to an incidental, inadequate 150-year-old standard. Elliot thinks this is more honest why?
It is this arbitrary, limited standard--not the use of accurate HDR--that represents distortion of the truth. Conscientious, conservative HDR to simulate the same dynamic range as the human eye is nothing more than a way to make an artificial representation MORE honest.
By way of a fairly trenchant analogy, the same objections were voiced with: stereo vs. mono; color vs. B&W; talkies vs. silent films. Each was vilified despite overcoming an arbitrary limitation. I rest my case.